The Rifleman
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The Margaret Years
 
Chapter 19 - Our First Christmas Tree
Written by Michelle Palmer

Lucas hurried to the fireplace to warm his hands. “Boy, it’s cold out there!” Lucas declared. “I’m sure glad I didn’t have to go ride fence today. The cattle have fresh hay and all the animals are fed. I certainly hope…” He turned to glance at Margaret then stopped and straightened up. “Margaret, what the heck are you doing?”
 
Margaret was standing in front of the window with a finger to her chin, deep in thought. “I’m thinking.” She smiled. With a nod of her head, she said, “That would be a perfect spot!”
 
Lucas lifted an eyebrow and took a few steps toward her. “Perfect for what?”
 
“The tree,” Margaret declared, as if Lucas should have automatically known what she was talking about.
 
“Oh.” Lucas took his gloves off and hurried into the kitchen to get his own cup of coffee. Apparently his wife was too busy planning Christmas to think about him. He took a sip of his coffee. “Well, I’ll get you one in a couple weeks.”
 
“A couple weeks?”
 
Lucas turned when he heard the sharpness in her voice. “Of course, My Love. We put the tree up a couple days before Christmas.”
 
“Maybe in your family, but not in mine!” Margaret declared as she hurried forward. “Now Lucas McCain, you KNOW how much I love Christmas! Why, it’s one of the grandest times of the year, celebrating the birth of our Savior. You KNOW there’s a lot of work for me to do. Putting up the tree will get me in the Christmas spirit!”
 
“Hm…AND the buying spirit, I’m guessing.” Lucas grinned as he took another sip of coffee.
 
Margaret took a couple steps forward. “Lucas McCain!” She shook her head at him. “You know better than that!” She turned away from him and folded her arms in a playful pout. “I’ll have you know I have every intention to make every one of my presents this year. I have NO intention of spending your hard-earned money!”
 
Lucas sat his cup down and pressed his hands against her shoulder. He turned her around to face him and gave her a stern look. “It’s OUR money, Mrs. McCain.” He touched the tip of her nose. “And I don’t care if you spend our money. I know the sort of Christmas you’re accustomed to.”
 
“That was before I married you, Luke.” Margaret patted his cheek and hurried into the extra bedroom. “You know all those quilts I’ve been making?”
 
“Mm hm. I thought you were preparing for the next ice age or something.”
 
Margaret poked her head out the door and shook a finger at him. “Those are Christmas gifts! I’m making a quilt for each family.” Margaret lifted one of the quilts. “Even one for Beth, see.” Margaret pressed the quilt against her and hugged it. “She’ll need it out West, I suppose.” She turned away as tears filled her eyes. “Oh Luke…”
 
Lucas hurried up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. “You knew she and Johnny were always flighty. They aren’t solid like you are. They want to spread their wings and fly away like a bird.”
 
“I know.” Margaret turned in his arms and pressed her head into his chest. “I’m so worried. The West is so full of dangers…Outlaws….”
 
Lucas cupped her chin with his hand and lifted her chin up. “And this house is full of prayers for Beth Gibbs who has decided to go all the way to California and be a school teacher. She may last, but then she may not. I’m sure she’ll find a fine man to marry her and settle her down.”
 
Margaret turned from him and slowly walked toward the window. “Oh Luke…She’s so…flirtatious. She’s always been that way, and you know that. Scott’s tried to dissuade her from being that way but…” Margaret shook her head. “You know she’s willing to court just about any handsome cowboy who turns his head to her. Beth is beautiful and…”
 
Lucas hurried forward and pressed a finger to her lips. “She’ll be fine.” Lucas smiled. “She’s had good upbringing.”
 
“But this…friend…she’s meeting up with. I’m afraid…”
 
“Honey, sometimes we have to let those we love make their own mistakes. Making mistakes is how we learn.” Lucas grinned down into her eyes. “Seems to me some beautiful lady told me that once.”
 
Margaret took his hand and laid it against her cheek. She leaned into his hand and smiled back up at him. “And Johnny…He’s so wild and carefree.” Margaret turned away again and looked out the window. “I’m worried he’s going to get in over his head soon. I can’t believe he’s going all the way to Texas to work in a Wild West show.”
 
Lucas cocked his head to one side and studied her from behind. He decided she needed to get her mind off her worries. “What do you say about going to get that tree now?”
 
Margaret turned and rewarded Lucas with a great big smile. Her eyes shone with excitement. “Oh Luke…can we?” She ran to him. The quilt still pressed against her as her eyes grew wide and sparkled. “Can we really?”
 
Lucas hugged her to him and pressed his lips against her forehead. He moved his head to stare into hers. His eyes grew wide for a moment as he smiled into her eyes. “We really can! I’ll let you have your two weeks of excitement.”
 
Margaret’s face lit up even more than before. “I should go dress warmly!” she declared as she hurried to the bedroom to get dressed. “Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree…” Margaret began singing as she slipped off her dress. Lucas chuckled as he stood in the doorway and watched her. He had so much love for this woman. He was so very lucky. Margaret, suddenly feeling a bit self-conscious about having an audience, turned and pointed at him. “Can’t a girl dress in private?”
 
Lucas grinned as his eyes moved up and down her body. “Sure she can…but it’s a shame to waste the view.”
 
“Lucas…” Margaret got that warning sound in her voice.
 
Lucas held up his hands in defense and chuckled. “Okay. I’m going…I’m going.”
 
***
 
It was Monday, December Tenth. They had exactly fifteen days until Christmas, so when Lucas had stated two weeks, he was being a bit generous with the time. Margaret smiled as she stepped out onto the porch. She was dressed in several layers of clothing. Her wool dress hung over three pairs of stockings. Her snow boots kept her feet warm while the coat, scarf, hat, and gloves kept the rest of her warm. But the greatest warmth of all came from deep inside her. The prospect of their first Christmas together loomed over her.
 
Lucas took her arm and helped her down the steps. Little snow had melted since it fell about a week ago. They had very little sunshine, and what sunshine they had allowed enough melting to place slippery spots along the path they walked. “I…suppose it would be foolish of me to suggest you stay at home.”
 
“It would,” Margaret answered as they stopped long enough for Lucas to retrieve the axe. “You know I always went with my Pa…then my brother…to get the Christmas tree. Now I want to go with my husband.” Margaret squeezed her arm tighter around his. “And when God blesses us with a child, I want him…or her…to go with us every year!”
 
They walked slowly, and with difficulty, through the deep snow. Lucas slid his arm around her shoulders. Margaret leaned her head against his shoulder and began humming “Oh Christmas Tree.” Lucas listened to her beautiful voice for a while. Then she stopped and lifted her head. “You think God will bless us with one soon?”
 
“One what?”
 
“A child.”
 
Lucas smiled. “I think he will. I feel it deep inside me. I feel God will give us a child to love someday.” Lucas turned and looked at her. “He knows how much you want one, Honey.”
 
“I’ve never said anything.”
 
“No.” Lucas smiled. “But I can tell. I see it in your eyes sometimes. I hear it when you pray.”
 
“Oh Luke…It’s silly to be asking already. After all, we’ve only been married for three months.”
 
Lucas smiled. “What will our son be like?”
 
“Our son?” Lucas slowed his steps as he turned and lifted an eyebrow at her.
 
“I just feel that…” Margaret stopped and turned to him. “Oh Luke…You’d like to have a son, wouldn’t you?”
 
“Sure. But I wouldn’t mind having a daughter that was just like her mother.”
 
“But a son…” Margaret grasped his hand as they walked into the woods. “He could help you. You could work together on the ranch. You could teach him to ride and tend to the cattle. He could work along side you someday. And then he can marry and…”
 
“Whoa there!” Lucas chuckled. “Let’s slow down a little bit.”
 
“This day just seems so special, Luke.” Margaret leaned against a tree as she started to study the trees around her, deciding which tree would be best for their living room. “But what would he be like?” Lucas turned and looked at her again. His eyebrow lifted. “Oh, he’d have your eyes for sure! He’d have to. And your smile.”
 
Lucas set down the ax and pressed in his hands on her shoulders. “Maybe he’ll have your sweet disposition. Maybe he’ll look like his mother.”
 
“Oh Luke…” Margaret blushed a bit. “What boy would want to look like his mother?”
 
“To look into his face every day and see you…There’s nothing wrong with the way you look. Lucas rubbed his gloved fingers against her rosy cheek. “Your soft skin, so fare that the sun scorches it if you’re out too long…Your eyes so caring, and your lips…” Lucas leaned in and kissed her. Margaret wrapped her arms around him as she leaned into his kiss. Their lips parted. “Any man would be proud to have a son that looked like you.”
 
“Of course his name…It would have to be Mark Warren McCain.”
 
“Oh?”
 
Margaret nodded. “That’s what you wanted to name him a long time ago. You told me so in a letter, remember?”
 
“I do.” Lucas rubbed his fingers against her cheek. “I remember very well, my love.” Lucas kissed her again. “Maybe someday soon you’ll be able to feel our little boy inside you. Maybe he’s in there right now and you don’t know it.”
 
Margaret smiled at the prospect.  “Today’s so special, Luke. It just feels…so special.” Margaret sighed. “Oh, but it could be a while before Little Mark is born. It could be months or…years. Maybe two or maybe…”
 
“Four?” Lucas smiled. He looked into her eyes. “You never know, my Darling. Maybe in four years we’ll have a son beside us.”
 
“Four years…” Margaret mumbled. “Oh, but that seems like forever! But if I have to wait that long for Little Mark, I suppose that’s because God is going to give us something very special.”
 
Lucas kissed her again. “Very…” He kissed her cheek. “Very…” Then his eyes grew wide as he stared into hers. “…special.” Then he drew her body against his and kissed her long and passionately. Their lips lingered against each others’ for a long time. They were no longer chilled, but warmed in the love they shared with each other as they shared their hopes for the future. Finally, Lucas cleared his throat. “Why don’t we work on Little Mark tonight?” He stepped back. “But for now…let’s get a tree. I’m starved!”
 
Margaret smiled as she stepped away from him and started looking at the trees. She finally chose one that was a pretty good size, but not too big. Margaret watched as he chopped the tree. She began singing the Christmas Tree song again.
 
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
Not only green when summer's here,
But also when 'tis cold and drear.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging!
 
Lucas soon found the rhythm of his ax matching that of her beautiful voice. His labor of love warmed him, but not as much as the love he could feel radiating from her from across the way.
 
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me;

How often has the Christmas tree
Afforded me the greatest glee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me.
 
Margaret laughed as she finished the second verse. Lucas turned and looked at her. His eyes shone with love. As they stared into each other’s eyes, they heard a crack. Lucas gasped and hurried out of the way, allowing the tree to fall. Margaret clapped as she watched the tree fall with a thud.
“Alright…Let’s get to work!” Lucas held the ax tight in one hand as his strong arm lifted the trunk of the tree with the other. Margaret lifted the top and they started for home. As they slowly walked through the deep snow, Margaret again began to sing.
 
Silent night. Holy night.
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, so tender and mild
Sleep in Heavenly peace…
Sleep in Heavenly peace.
 
Lucas found his own voice joining in on the next verse.
 
Silent night. Holy night.
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born
 
When they were halfway home, Margaret fell in the snow. Lucas turned in surprise to see her giggling like a school girl. “What happened?” He asked as he set the ax down and hurried toward her.
 
“You were going too fast…You and your long legs!” Margaret declared. Lucas held out a hand for her to take. Margaret took his hand, but instead of him pulling her, she gave him a big tug and he fell down in the snow.
 
“Hey now! What’s the big idea?” Lucas asked.
 
“I just feel…so alive today!” Margaret declared. “I just feel like laughing.”
 
Margaret lay on her back in the snow. Lucas leaned over her. His lips parted a bit as he lifted a hand to wipe some snow off her cheek. Margaret’s smile widened at the feel of his gloved hand on her cheek. “It’s amazing…”
 
“What?” Lucas’ voice grew husky as he slowly moved his face downward.
 
“That our love feels so new today. I suddenly feel like…Like that school girl when I was fourteen and you kissed me for the first time.”
 
“Are you cold?” Lucas asked in a little more than a whisper.
 
“Oh no, Luke! How could I be?” Her lips trembled as Lucas lowered his lips to them. His mouth covered hers. He pressed his body against her as they shared a passionate embrace. When the kiss ended, Margaret hugged him tight. “Oh Luke…I love you!”
 
Lucas stood to his feet. He bent down and lifted her into his arms. “I’ll come back for the tree.” He kissed her again. Then he started toward the house. They continued staring into each other’s eyes as he opened the back door with one hand and carried her inside. He kissed her again, kicking the door shut with his foot. Slowly, he allowed her to stand to her feet. “I love you…” he breathed.
 
They never took their eyes off of each other as they took off their coat, gloves, and other warming garments. No more words were uttered as he lifted her once again into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. Their kisses intensified as he lowered her to the bed and lowered himself on top of her. Her arms came around his neck. “Promise me forever, Luke…” Margaret breathed as he trailed kisses down her neck and began unbuttoning the front of her dress. “Promise me…”
 
Lucas didn’t say anything. They both knew they couldn’t promise forever. As Lucas slowly slipped her dress off and dropped it to the floor, her words were forgotten. They slowly made love as darkness came upon the ranch. It felt like the first time.
 
In time, Lucas laid on his side beside her. His hand continued to gently stroke her soft skin and Margaret laid quietly and silently beside him. “What are you thinking?” Lucas asked quietly.
 
“I’m remembering that day in the school yard when we were seven years old.” Margaret slowly opened her eyes and looked up into his. Lucas’s hand paused, resting on her belly. “Your brother teased us, saying someday we’d be married and have a baby. Remember how you went barreling towards him and started punching on him? You said you could never marry me because…”
 
Lucas chuckled as his hand started stroking her skin again. “…because you were my best friend, and I’d never do something that rotten to my best friend.” Lucas kissed her. “I’m sorry I did such a rotten thing to you, Mrs. McCain.”
 
“You know…you really hurt my feelings that day!”
 
“Oh?”
 
“Well…girls don’t think like boys. Every girl at the age of seven wants to be a ma, I guess. I started thinking that I would never be a Ma. In fact, when I got home I started crying and my Mother hugged me, demanding to know what was wrong.” Margaret giggled. “She told me you’d change your mind someday.”
 
“Hm…It took a while, but I did.”
 
He lifted his head up over hers and kissed her softly. “You certainly did.”
 
Margaret wrapped her arms around his neck, and again they were given to passion. After a long time, Lucas lifted from her. “What about supper?”
 
Margaret smiled. “Is that all you can think about? Supper?”
 
“No…” Lucas rubbed her cheek with his fingers. “But I’ve worked up an appetite.”
 
Margaret blushed. “I guess it was a bit…honeymoonish for me to give in to passion the way I did.”
 
“Don’t every stop giving into passion the way you did” Lucas stood from the bed and bent over to retrieve his clothes from the floor. “While you fix your husband a steak, I’ll go retrieve the tree.”
 
“I’ll help…” Margaret started.
 
Lucas turned from the door. “Oh no! I see where your ‘help’ got us! You just fix me some supper, woman!”
 
Margaret giggled, but she didn’t move from the bed until the door had firmly closed behind him.
 
She was truly blessed.
 
***
 
Lucas grunted as he dragged the tree through the door. “Couldn’t you have picked…a better…day to do this?” Margaret turned from the stove and giggled as she pressed her fingers to her lips. Lucas straightened up and gave her a mock glare. “Oh, you think this is funny, do ya?” Margaret giggled even harder. “Where’s it going?”
 
“Well now…” Margaret sat down her spatula and hurried toward the front door. She looked at the tree then toward the window. Then she looked back down at the tree. “Now…I’ve narrowed it down to three places. I’ll have to see it up before I can decide and…”
 
“Oh no…” Lucas groaned as he rolled his eyes. “Honey, can’t you just pick a place? Does it really matter where the tree sits?”
 
“No, I can’t just pick a place, Luke! And yes, it really DOES matter where it sits!” Margaret walked over to the window. “Let’s just move your chair and…She pulled on it a bit but it didn’t budge. Lucas walked over to her and wrapped his hands around her waist. “Please…allow me.” He twirled her around then cracked his knuckles. “Watch this.”
 
Margaret giggled as he pulled on it. It slowly moved across the floor. “What’s wrong with this…” Lucas grunted.
 
“Maybe you’re just getting old.”
 
Lucas straightened and turned to look at her. He put his hand under her chin and lifted her face toward his. Gently, he kissed her. “That’s not what you said while ago,” he said softly as he stared into her eyes. Margaret blushed as she turned and hurried back to the kitchen. “It’s nice having the house all to ourselves again.”
 
Margaret occupied herself with finishing up supper. Lucas straightened from positioning the tree in the bucket and looked at her. “I said it’s nice having the house all to ourselves.”
 
“Very nice,” Margaret said, trying to suppress her smile. Her heart fluttered as she thought on just how nice it was. She jumped a bit when she felt Lucas’ arms come around her. She leaned back against his chest and laid her hands on his arms that were around her waist. “I feel like a school girl again, Luke.”
 
“Mmmmm….” Luke mumbled as he trailed kisses down her neck. “And I’m hungry.”
 
“Well…” Margaret peeled his hands from her waist and turned to look at him. “If you’ll just let me get supper finished, I can take care of that problem.”
 
Margaret ordered Lucas to set the table. Lucas tried to complain a bit, but finally gave in knowing he was fighting a losing battle. After he blessed the food, they began eating. He watched with lifted eyebrows as Margaret studied the tree in front of the window. She finally sat her fork down, wiped her mouth, and stood up. Lucas leaned back in his chair as he watched her look the tree up and down. “No…no…This won’t do, Luke.” She turned and shook her head. “It just won’t do.”
 
“Why not?”
 
“A candle in the window. Why, the tree is too close to the window. I could never…” Margaret paused as Lucas gave her a strange look. “Now, you know our mothers always put a candle in the window for our Pa’s to come home by. I want the same tradition. A candle must be in the window every night, and I simply can’t put it there if…” Margaret walked to the fireplace. She looked around the mantle then at each side. “There…” She pointed to the right of the fireplace. “Right there will be a perfect spot. It’s far away from the fireplace that sparks won’t fly on it, yet close enough that…”
 
Lucas stood and walked over to her. He put his hands on his hips. “Now Margaret…Do you remember after we moved in and you kept making me move things here then there then over here again?” Margaret nodded her head. Lucas folded his arms and gave her a stern look. “This isn’t going to be a repeat of that nightmare, is it?”
 
“Of course not!” Margaret nodded her head. “By the fireplace, Luke.” Margaret gave a firm nod. “I want it right by the fireplace.”
 
“By the fire…” Lucas mumbled. Then he kissed her and went to do her bidding.
 
***
 
Margaret turned on her side and stared at the wall as she tried to go to sleep. Lucas’ breathing told her he was very close to sleep himself, but there was something bothering her. Margaret turned back over on her other side. “Lucas?” She got a grunt as a response. “Are you awake?”
 
“Mmm….”
 
“Is that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no?’”
 
Lucas sighed as he turned on his side and looked at her in the darkness. “What is it, Margaret.”
 
“Well…I’ve been thinking…”
 
Lucas groaned as he rolled his eyes. “I’ll take care of it in the morning.” He turned back on his side and closed his eyes.
 
“Take care of what?”
 
“Moving the tree back over in front of the window.”
 
“Oh.” Margaret turned on her back and crossed her arms as she looked up at the ceiling. “Luke?”
 
“Hm?”
 
“How did you know?”
 
Lucas chuckled as he turned back toward her. He lifted and nuzzled his nose in her neck. “Because you’re a woman.”
 
“Oh.” Lucas laid his head on her shoulder. “Now go to sleep.” Margaret kissed his cheek, then snuggled down close to him and did as he requested.
 
***
 
Margaret smiled as Lucas straightened the tree up and pushed it out from the window a bit. “There. How’s that?”
 
Margaret giggled as she saw the look on his face. “From the expression on your face, I’d say it better be perfect.”
 
“Well?”
 
Margaret shrugged. “It’ll do.” Lucas stood to his feet and started toward her with his arms out from his body a bit. It made him look bigger than life and Margaret hurried into the kitchen. “Alright…it’s perfect!”
 
“Are you sure?”
 
“Yes! I’m sure! It’s…” Margaret let out a squeal as Lucas lifted her and swung her over his shoulder. “Lucas McCain, you put me down!”
 
 Lucas laughed as he carried her toward the front door. “I’ve a good mind to dump you in the snow.”
 
“You wouldn’t dare!” Margaret squealed. Lucas chuckled as he set her back on her feet. “No. But I will do this.” Lucas pressed the palms of his hands against her cheeks and kissed her softly. His thumbs stroked her cheeks up and down as his lips lingered on hers. When their lips finally parted, he asked, “Are you happy, Mrs. McCain?”
 
“Almost…” Margaret giggled at the look on his face. “I just need one more thing before you go ride fence.”
 
“Oh?”
 
“The decorations Mama gave me are out in the barn, if you remember. I need them.”
 
“Right now?”
 
“Well…You can’t just have a bare tree sitting in our living room! What if someone were to drop by?”
 
“Alright…alright…I’ll get the decorations.”
 
Margaret smiled. “Thank you, Luke. And when you come home for lunch, the tree will be all decorated.”
 
***
 
True to Margaret’s word, Lucas felt he was stepping into a different house. He smelled ham and beans as he walked in, then he saw the tree. Home-made ornaments hung in a thoughtfully organized way on the tree. The candles were carefully placed on the branches, ready to light when darkness fell.
 
A sweet aroma came from the kitchen and mixed with the beans and ham. Lucas could hear Margaret humming, but she wasn’t in the room. As he walked further into the living room he saw mistletoe hanging in the entryway of the kitchen, as well as the doorway of both bedrooms. He saw the Christmas candles over the mantle, as well as the angel on top of the tree. Strings of popcorn were strung around the house. Wreaths decorated with fancy ribbon, mistletoe, and pine cones as well as other things that could be found growing outside their house were hanging on the walls. He felt he had just stepped into Santa’s living room.
 
Lucas stopped in the entryway to the kitchen and leaned against the wall. Margaret was leaning way over on the counter pinning up intertwined ribbon of green, red, and white along the wall. He cleared his throat. Margaret’s humming stopped immediately. “Oh…hello, Luke.”
 
Lucas took her arm and led her into the entry to the kitchen where the mistletoe hung. “Seems we may have a problem here, my Love.”
 
Margaret put her arms around him and looked up toward the ceiling. “Oh?”
 
“You have this mistletoe everywhere. You know what happens when one stands under it.” Lucas bent his head down and kissed her soundly on the mouth. They smiled into each other’s eyes afterward. “Or is that your way of getting more loving from me?”
 
 “Your lunch is all ready,” she smiled as she led him to the table and seated him at the head of the table.
 
Lucas smiled. He knew he was a lucky man. Margaret poured the coffee in his cup before sitting down beside him and folding her hands in prayer. Lucas said the prayer, then looked up at her. “You must be exhausted.”
 
“I feel wonderful,” Margaret declared.
 
“Well…I mean, all these decorations…” Lucas pointed to the popcorn and ribbon garland that hung all around the ceilings and over the doorways. “How did you do this in four hours?”
 
“Well…like you said last night, Luke…” Margaret lifted a piece of ham to her mouth. “I’m a woman.” Lucas shook his head at her before returning to his eating. Margaret sat and watched him eat. A big smile was on her face. “How are the cattle?”
 
“Fine. Just fine,” Lucas said. “And I’m not going to ask you how you hung the garland, so you needn’t fret. If I knew, I’d probably need to give you a good…”
 
“Would you like some cake?” Margaret jumped from the chair and hurried into the kitchen.
 
“You made cake too?” Lucas shook his head as she sat in in front of him. “You are amazing.” He grabbed her arm and pulled her down on his lap. She smiled into his eyes. His eyes grew wide as he stared at her. “I think I’ll keep you.” Then he kissed her. “For awhile, anyway.”
 
Margaret laid her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. “Luke?”
 
“Hm?”
 
“Do you have to go back out this afternoon?”
 
“I’m afraid so, Honey.” Lucas kissed her forehead. “What’d you have in mind?”
 
Margaret sighed. “Oh, I don’t know…I just…miss you.”
 
Lucas pushed her away a bit and studied her face. “I know what the problem is.” Margaret raised her eyebrows and waited for Lucas to continue. “Things are too calm around here. There’s no excitement.”
 
Margaret pressed a finger to his lips to hush him. “And that’s just the way I want it, Luke!” She bent down and kissed him. “What would you like for supper?”
 
“We still have some of that venison?” Margaret nodded. “That sounds good.” Lucas paused. “Uh…My brothers and I are going on a hunting trip this weekend.”
 
“A hunting trip???” Margaret stood from his lap and put a hand on her side. “Who’s going to watch the Marshal’s office?”
 
“The new Marshal arrived yesterday,” Lucas answered with a grin. “I didn’t tell you?” Margaret shook her head. “Oh, well….I suppose you made me forget.” Lucas nodded. “I’ll be going into town tomorrow to meet him. If you’re a good girl, I just MAY take you with me.”
 
“Define ‘good.’”
 
Lucas drew his finger toward him. “Come here, and I’ll show you.” Margaret sat back on his lap, then he enveloped her in his arms and they began working on a definition.

The Margaret Years — A Special Delivery

These stories are based on the TV series The Rifleman
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